Grace Episcopal Church: Nampa's 1st church building
Grace Episcopal Church was originally organized by Episcopal lay reader, George Buzelle, in the late 1880’s. He began holding services in the loft of the Bowman Building (formerly Kalbus Office Supply). In 1889 he organized the construction of Nampa’s first church building on 12th Avenue between First and Front Streets. The
lot was donated by the town’s founder, Alexander Duffes. Buzzelle eventually completed his training for the priesthood, and the building was then consecrated as an Episcopal Church. The building was later moved to the corner of 3rd Street and 12th Avenue. Rev. Buzelle gave the church the name Grace Church, taken from the name of the church where he was baptized in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
During the tenure of Rev. C.A. McKay in 1936, the property on 10th and 4th Avenue was purchased for $5,000. Construction on the current church building was begun in July of 1940, consecration was on December 18th, with services starting Christmas Eve of 1940. The church altar was donated by the Jennings family in memory of Arch Deacon Samuel Jennings who served Grace Church from 1891 to 1893 and again from 1895 to 1910. The first pews were installed and used in June of 1942 while Bishop Frank Rhea was rector. The previous church building at 3rd and 12th was demolished, but the parish hall and rectory building (called in its time a recreation hall) was moved and is now the Nampa Grange Hall on 1st Street South.
On February 13th, 1945 the congregation approved a petition to become a self-supporting parish and a vestry was created. Their first act was to elect the Rev. McKay as the parish’s first rector.
The church celebrated its 100th anniversary on March 26th 1989 and Mayor Winston K. Goering and the city council named that Month of May as Grace Episcopal Church month. The resolution also cited the members for being “an integral and viable part of the community” during those 100 years.